Transformative Place: Liminal Place in Contemporary Irish and Native American Literatures

Doctoral Dissertation


This project addresses the literary aftermath of colonialism as experienced by Irish and Native American peoples. The frequently parallel and at times convergent rhetorical representations of Irish and Native American peoples and realities of Anglo colonial policy in Ireland and North America has created similar literary tropes in contemporary Irish and Native American literatures. My dissertation focuses primarily on the literary creation of “liminal places."ÌøåÀå_ In this context, liminal places are spaces that ought to be transitional, temporary and transformative but because of colonial legacies, current colonialism, and neocolonialism, they are created as places to which the writer can return to or cannot escape. These liminal places enable understandings and challenges to colonial, postcolonial and neocolonial realities. The dissertation contains four chapters addressing different types of liminal place. The first "The American West, The Irish Dream"ÌøåÀå_ looks at the ways in which Irish writers, including Sir William F. Butler, Michael Mac Gabhann, Eilis Ni Dhuibhne and Gearoid Mac Lochlainn, use the American West and Native American inhabitants to create an Irish dream of prosperity and entitlement. "Abducting the Past,” the second chapter, focuses on the use of mythic place as a source of cultural and literary revitalization in the work of Joy Harjo and Nuala NiÌâå_ Dhomhnaill. The third chapter, “‘Dysfunctional double-bind of border fever,’"ÌøåÀå_ investigates the work of Sherman Alexie and Patrick McCabe for whom the in-between places of reservation and border county, respectively, become prisons from which their characters cannot escape. The final chapter, "Place Between the Lines,"ÌøåÀå_ explores the liminal place created by poets who collaborate with visual artists.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-04152011-211812

Author Jessica Maribeth Dougherty-McMichael
Advisor Brian O Conchubhair
Contributor Kathryn Shanley, Committee Member
Contributor Brian O Conchubhair, Committee Chair
Contributor Briona Nic Dhiarmada, Committee Member
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline Literature
Degree Name PhD
Defense Date
  • 2011-04-06

Submission Date 2011-04-15
  • United States of America

  • Irish Literature

  • Native American Literature

  • liminal

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units


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